Washington Post, Style & Arts Section on Sunday, June 28, 2009 Pages E1,E13:
Before Pavarotti died,Dai Yuqiang says, "I was considered Number Four" Now he is No. 3 with a laugh to defuse his ego. Dai is a famous tenor of opera in China and in the USA.
On Page B7: LANGUAGE: "In the land of invented languages" By Arika Okrent. Spieget & Grau. 342 pp. $26 Review by A.J. Jacobs.
" Author Okrent writes in her new book, "In the Land of Invented Languages," from an engineering perspective, language is kind of a disaster." English in particular is choked with irregular words and anachronistic phrases that long ago stopped making intuitive sense."
"My only gripe is that Okrent lets natural language off the hook too easily. She says her studies gave her a deeper appreciation for the messiness of language: "Ambiguity, or fuzziness of meaning, is not a flaw of natural language but a feature that gives it flexibility and that, for whatever reason, suits our minds and the way we think." True enough, but the way we think is pretty messy and illogical." A. J. Jacobs is the author of "The Year of Living Biblically" and the upcoming "Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment.
THE MINI Page: This week, our country celebrates its 233rd birthday. Many of us will honor Independence Day with fireworks. July 4th is coming Saturday this week.
Most experts agree that the Chinese probably invented fireworks more than 1,000 years ago. Colonists from England and Europe may have brought them when they settled in America.
At the first inauguration of President Grover Cleveland in 1885, fireworks were part of the celebration in Washington, D.C.
Parade Picks: Great Summer Reads: In Lisa See's "Shanghai Girls" set in the 1930s and 40s, two sisters from war-torn China must adjust to life in America after their father gambles away the family fortune and sells the girls as wives to immigrant brothers in California.
Such stories were not unusual through my recollection of history in Shanghai in 1940s.
Francis Shieh a.k.a. Xie Shihao wishing to have "rejuvenation. ""Fan lao huan tong" in Pin Yin meaning "getting back to youth from aging "on June 28, 2009 at 11.42 a.m.